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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

China, S Korea promote pragmatic cooperation

By Mang Jiuchen (People's Daily)

17:21, October 21, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

The pragmatic relationship between China and South Korea has developed fast in various fields since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1992 and particularly since they established a strategic cooperative partnership in 2008.

Political ties between China and South Korea have witnessed smooth development since the establishment of diplomatic relations. The two countries established a cooperative partnership in 1998, a comprehensive cooperative partnership in 2003 and a strategic cooperative partnership in 2008. The leaders of the two countries have conducted frequent exchange visits and held talks on many multilateral occasions, which has constantly enhanced mutual understanding and trust as well as greatly promoted the steady development of bilateral relations.

The two countries have constantly broadened and deepened bilateral economic cooperation and have become important trading partners for each other. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have signed a series of inter-governmental trade agreements and investment protection agreements, which have effectively ensured the steady, healthy and rapid development of bilateral trade ties.

According to statistics from the Economic and Commercial Counselor's Office of the Chinese Embassy in South Korea, the annual trade volume between China and South Korea reached nearly 207.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, up nearly 33 percent from the previous year. At present, China is South Korea's largest trading partner, largest export destination country and largest source of imports and trade surplus. Korea is China's third largest trading partner.

The Chinese and South Korean governments have agreed to boost the bilateral trade value to 300 billion U.S. dollars in 2015. The free trade zone talks between the two countries have officially been initiated. According to the statistics from the Korea International Trade Association, the proportion of South Korea's exports to China to its total exports was up from about 22 percent in 2008 to 25 percent in 2010, setting a historical record. The Korea International Trade Association believes that China's economy has injected dynamics into South Korea’s economic growth and South Korea's exports to China are expected to continuously rise.

The cultural, technological and educational exchanges and cooperation between the two countries have been on the continuous rise. Today, 130 pairs of Chinese and South Korean cities or provinces have established friendly ties. There are more than 830 flights and 100,000 passengers from and to the two countries per week.

A total of about 6 million Chinese and South Korean people traveled between countries in 2010, and South Korea has become China's largest foreign tourist source country. A total of 65,000 South Korean students were studying in China at the end of 2010 and 75,000 Chinese students were studying in South Korea, both ranking first in terms of the number of foreign students. China and South Korea have maintained close communication and consultations on issues such as China-Japan-South Korea cooperation, East Asian integration and global climate change. The cooperation between China and South Korea has played increasingly important roles in advancing regional and global peace and development.

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